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12 DAYS IN FRANCE..hmmm...arrival

location is the challenge for me to right now. Traveling in Europe for 4 weeks (France 12night/Italy 12nights/????last 4nights Barcelona).

Arrive in France for 12days,Sept 3-15. I would like to visit Paris as well as another interesting/beautiful area in Southern France that I can combine into an enjoyable trip, during this 12day stay. To complicate matters further I need to fly from France either from north or south to Southern Italy specific area Puglia/Matera for prearranged tour experience that starts Sept 15-26(My intention is to fly directly into Bari airport where driver will pick me up and bring me to join up with small group of 3 others). I plan to travel within France via train not sure north to south or vicversa.
So here are my questions:
•Where do I land in France to start Holiday ..Paris/North/CDG or what Southern France area that's accessible from local airport. (again that need to be in Italy ,afternoon of 9/15 issue/ not so much issue if flying out CDG).
• How many days in Paris?
• Stay in a apt.vs. small hotel?
(preference is in 5-6th arrousement /Latin Quarter)
•How many days in Southern France?
•Where in Southern France?
• If route ends up being north to south which airport is most compatible in coordinating a memorable visit to southern France to travel onto Italy?
• Choice of accommodations in South Inns/B&B's?
•Train company used within France to
travel N->S or S->N?
•Also anything else you'd like to share or recommend about France?
•Finally is flying last part of trip sept 26-30th to Barcelona, Spain for a 4 noc stay in the city a doable for a new experience?
FYI Sidenote:
I had an extended 4wk Italy 2014/ Sept solo north to south visit via train/ferry. VENICE/Murano/Burano/Torchello,Milan,LAKE COMO/Bellagio, ITALIAN RIVIERA/Rapallo/SantaMargherita/Portofino/San Furosa/Cinque Terre,FLORENCE/including Pisa/Siena/several other Hilltowns in Tuscany accessible with Viators day trips including wine/food tours.,ROME, (train to naples directly to ferry to )AMALFI COAST/Praiano(base)/Positano/Amalfi Town/Ravello/ISCHIA with day trip to Capri on way back to Sorrento(base for Pompeii/Mt Vesuvus) ,shared van ride to naples airport ($25.)depart to Boston. I flew open jaw with one piece carryon luggage. Background to appreciate my desire to see a new place even if it's on a tiny appetizer till next trip 2016. Yes, this was my first trip to Europe and solo!!! I want to be successful again with this trip to France and beyond so I feel this is the place to ask. May your day be filled with light and happiness from all those that connect with you today! ThankYou for taking the time to read all of this as well as any comments/suggestions to guide me on my way. Oh and yes I have Ricks guides that's how I planned my 2014 trip my way.., I'm a butterfly by nature an aquarian. I like to keep moving especially if I'm in the proximity of water it energizes me.

Posted by
16883 posts

The French railways are all one system, with few exceptions that you won't run into. How to Look Up Train Schedules and Routes Online gives you the DB train schedule link and tips for using it. Tickets are sold through agents like and Rail Europe (compare prices), which may be easier to use than the French SNCF web site. Reserved, nonrefundable train tickets go on sale 3-4 months in advance for the best prices, if you're ready to commit to dates and times.

Flying into Paris Charles de Gaulle is the most common plan, visit that city, then take train south. Major airports in the south of France are at Nice and Marseille. Try to see flight options from those cities to Bari.

For ideas of what to visit, start at and These destinations are all covered in detail in Rick's French Riviera and Provence guidebook, or a smaller selection is in the France book (with Paris). Either Avignon or Nice can be a good home base when using public transport.

Posted by
6 posts

Also a reconsideration re trip planning does thus look more realistic?
1. Arrive,Southern France sept 3-15
2.Fly, Southern Italy sept 15-24
3.Fly Paris sept 24-30
4.DEPART SEPT 30 noon to USA
Spain next time.

Posted by
7124 posts

Sep 3-15 is 12 nights, so here we go (north to south makes sense) ...
Paris (4 nts) for need we say more
Loire Valley or Lyon (2 nts) for chateaux, or food
Avignon (2 nts) for soaking up some atmosphere and history in Provence
Nice (2 nts) for sun and glamour
This is all easy for a solo traveller by train.
Choose 2-3 star hotels. Check out Tripadvisor.
Direct flights to Bari on 15/9 could be a problem, even from Paris.
Easyjet has a direct flight Nice-Naples from where you could train it to Bari.
It sounds like you are keen on Barcelona, and for 4 nights it would be worthwhile.

Posted by
11613 posts

Note that to get to/from Matera, you have to backtrack through Bari. Sounds like you have transportation for your arrival, you need to get back to Bari via a non-Trenitalia rail company, or by bus if you don't have private transportation.

Posted by
6447 posts

Search carefully for flights from anywhere in France to Bari. I did some checking on and found flights from Nice to Bari but they were long flights (11-12 hours or more with stops) and cost a lot for your Sept dates (well over $200). However since there were no direct flights anyway, I checked Nice to Rome and then Rome to Bari. There were seriously budget flights from Nice to Rome (a little over an hour flight time and €39) and then also from Rome to Bari (same short flight time and only €49) - so much cheaper and much faster. Only caveats are regarding how much luggage you have because of the stricter limits on the budget carriers' flights and connection time between flights in Rome because the flights I saw were on two different airlines. Just an FYI

Posted by
6 posts

so much Nancy... That will be the way I get to bari.. If all I have is 1 briggs n riley carryon 22 inch under 40lbs do I have to check bag / baggage fee I can Handel just don't want to be separated from luggage?
Zoe good point fortunately my Matera visit is included in my tour. Also have you visited Puglua.. There's this amazing restaurant on a cliff in a cave over the ocean have you heard or know the name of it?

Posted by
6447 posts

" If all I have is 1 briggs n riley carryon 22 inch under 40lbs do I have to check bag ". Sorry I can't answer that, but I'm pretty sure your bag may be overweight or oversize for their standards. It does depend on the airline so after you find flight/s you like you'll have to check each airline's website for their limits and rules. If you think your bag is over their weight/size limits then pay to check your bag when you buy the ticket, it'll usually cost you more to check it last minute when you check in.